The success of The Avengers has done more than prove that there are still billions to be made in the CBM genre; it has inspired the geekdom of the inter-webs to declare that the next logical step is a full budget, feature length, live action Justice League of America film. One can’t type “justice” into Google without having 53 million results come back demanding Warner Bros. pony up the cash. It seems like the next logical step, especially since plans for such a film have been put in motion numerous times, only to be shut down in their infancy. But I say, to all my fellow fans of the world, that I believe there should NEVER be a JLA movie.
To begin with, there is no way to make this flick. The biggest thing going for The Avengers was all the prequel movies leading up to it. Before the script was finalized, the non-comic-fan lay-people of the world were already familiar with all the characters that would be featured. While plenty of people know Superman and Batman (and the 12 people who saw Green Lantern have been exposed to that, for better or worse), this movie can’t possibly explain and establish the rest of the league to audiences. Even with plans for a Flash movie, and the upcoming T.V. show “Arrow,” there just aren’t enough characters that the general population know to support a wide release.
As a matter of fact, the general movie going public doesn’t even know the big names that well. What Superman will we get? With Man of Steel pointing toward a full series reboot, it would likely be that incarnation, but nothing is certain. Chris Nolan’s Batman series is wrapping up, and, in this man’s opinion, I believe it will end with the death of Bruce Wayne, killing off the most familiar Batman of this generation. Even if Nolan’s Batman survives, it has been well established that the universe of the Dark Knight isn’t the DC universe, but its own cosmos unto itself. Oh, and Green Lantern just sucked.
For the 1.2 million average viewers who watched “Smallville,” there’s the option of going that route; but those were mostly fans of the genre, and not a very big group either (most definitely not enough to support a major studio release). That leaves one of 3 options: 1) Prior to making The Justice League, WB has to come out with movies and/or T.V. shows about the Flash, Hawkman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, and a reboot of Batman, likely including Robin; 2) Trying to horseshoe in origins at the beginning of the film, which can turn into a 3 hour, multi-lead Spider-Man 3 level disaster; or 3) Just scrap the damn project until it can feasibly be done…some time in 2022.
Hero logistics aren’t the only thing keeping a flick like this from getting off the ground. The biggest plot issue standing in the way of getting this film in the can is also the biggest problem with almost every Superman movie ever made; there’s just no villain in DC movie lore that posses a big enough threat to call these heroes together. White Martians aren’t going to cut it in today’s universe (not to mention, it’s pretty damn close to how The Avengers expanded on the Loki threat). They would have to pull in Doomsday or Darkseid, or possibly even some iteration of The Society to present enough of a challenge to warrant such a team coming together; and to do this would require even more back story and character development in future films.
The final, and maybe most important factor as to why JLA should stay on the shelf is: It’s going to suck. Hard. Listen, friends and fans: I hate to break this to you, but a movie full of one-dimensional characters bantering will not make for good entertainment. The script writes itself, and that’s the saddest thing of all; a great, universal danger comes to the world. Batman sees the big picture (because he’s the Batman), and recruits a team of Earth’s Mightiest Orphans and Cast-Outs. Flash is snarky, and generally gives everyone a hard time, trying to be the bad-boy of the group, unwilling to join at first, but eventually, showing his heroism; Superman is a boy scout, who joins because of truth, justice, and blah blah blah, while not getting along with Batman in a battle to lead the League.
Wonder Woman is an empowered female, and, as the only one on the team, shows that she’s just as good as the men-folk. Green Lantern is conservative, and is only going to join because it’s his duty, spending all his down time fighting with Green Arrow, while Green Arrow is liberal, joining the group to serve man, and who spends all his time making arrows, and fighting with Green Lantern. Then you have Martian Manhunter, who is aliener than the other aliens, joining because who gives a shit why, and Hawkman is there because…well, just because.
They form the group, and the first fight doesn’t go great, because they’re all used to working alone. They eventually find teamwork, and victory comes because Arrow and Lantern find a way to put aside their differences and work together, while Batman and Superman find a way to share their leadership skills, finding a way to win. Wonder Woman is the biggest hero of all, putting the final smack-down on the bad guy, and everyone goes home happy, as a team. Ultimately, it’ll be 2 hours of the world being saved by action figures, which you can then purchase at your local Wal-Mart for the low, low price of $19.99 (plus tax where applicable).
It’ll be formulaic, it’ll be difficult for non-fans to follow, and most importantly, it’ll be very, very bad. The casting will focus on big names instead of who’s right for the role, and the geek community will not be able to shut up about it for the year leading up to release, and then never, ever again after it comes out. Other than an up-tick in the number of Wonder Woman based wet-dreams among high-schoolers the likes of which haven’t been seen since the late 70’s, it will be the kind of movie only discussed in conversations that also include the merits of Tank Girl, and what went wrong with Howard the Duck.
Honestly, I believe we’re all better off if it just never gets made, especially not by the same company that gave us Jonah Hex, The Losers, Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, Green Lantern, and Sucker Punch JUST IN THE LAST 2 YEARS.